Algeria: Green Wave breaks on secular block

Islamic parties routed by old majority, the Fln and the Rnd

11 May, 20:25

Algerian parliamentary elections campaign Algerian parliamentary elections campaign

(ANSAmed) - TUNIS - The ever onward stampede of political Islam across North Africa appears to have stumbled in Algeria, with a clear rout for the Islamic Parties at the hands of the Fronte di Liberazione Nazionale (the FLN, close to President Bouteflika) and the Rassemblement National Democratique (RND), led by Premier Ahmed Ouyahia. Of course, the parties of the Green Alliance have been quick to contest the outcome, speaking of massive-scale electoral fraud and attacking Bouteflika in person -even before the official results were made known. But defeat it remains: it is highly unlikely that a court would overturn the results of this election, which was monitored by over 500 foreign observers. As far as is known, there were no reports of excessive irregularities. And so the parties of the old majority can pick up from today where they left off ahead of the elections, strengthened by a popular mandate. The vote enables them to bring 220 FLN and 68 RND MPs into the National Assembly, or 288 out of a total of 462 seats. Such a majority will leave the other parties, especially the Islamists, grubbing around for influence.

Up until yesterday, the Green Alliance was confident of a resounding vindication, but they now find themselves in the 'top ten' of parties who have lost the most seats, in third place with just 48 MPs. This will enable them to form a parliamentary opposition, but not much more. It would appear that this unexpected debacle will lead to a phase of internal challenge within the Green Alliance, maybe a showdown given how the hyperactivity of MSP leader Bouguerra Soltani did not go down too well with the other two allied parties, as the forced smiles in group photos reveal. Be that as it may, from today on, a page has been turned in Algeria. The FLN and RND had truly feared an overturn of the political scene and this is a factor they will bear in mind in the near and long-term future. It is not easy to analyse why their victory was such a sweeping one: the role played by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika should be noted. In his more recent speeches he undoubtedly won back some of the discontented - of whom there were many - given the rate of abstention (57.64 per cent). (ANSAmed).


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